May 11, 1998



The magic of 'La Boheme'

  Review by Deborah Stone

   Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's "La Boheme" is a definite crowd pleaser. The magic lies in its endearing music and sentimental story that appeals to audiences of all ages. The exquisite sweetness of falling in love and the anguish at having it end tragically is an emotional rollercoaster that has made "La Boheme" one of the most beloved operas of all times.
   Soprano Sheri Greenawald sings the role of Mimi, the fragile heroine, in the company's Gold Series. Greenawald replaces Sicilian soprano Nuccia Focile who was to have made her Seattle Opera debut opposite her husband, tenor Paul Charles Clarke, the Rodolfo. Greenawald and Clarke make a romantic coupling whose voices resonate with passion and tenderness. Baritone Jason Howard's Marcello and soprano Gwynne Geyer's Musetta sing their roles equally well, portraying a pair of lovers who tease one another, quarrel and reconcile as a result of the tragedy they witness in the end.
   The production is creatively staged by Lori Larsen with realistic, detailed sets that provide backdrops of Bohemian life in Paris. Conductor Patrick Summers is obviously at home with Puccini's music and very much attuned to the power and emotion it evokes. All performances of "La Boheme" are sold out. The up-coming Seattle Opera's 98/99 season will open on August 1st with a new production of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde." For ticket information, call 206-389-7676.